Sherwin-Williams (Stores Division)


  • 1400 store retail chain
  • Nearly went into Chapter 11 two years before project commenced.
  • Two years of extensive cost cutting to return to positive cash flow.

Case for Action

  • Growth. Now that the organization case situation was stabilized, there were two primary reasons to shift the emphasis to growth:
    • Regain market share which had slipped during the crisis.
    • Improve profitability and return on net assets.
  • Highly variable performance of stores, not necessarily linked to market.
  • Need to implement a major shift in strategy, which included expanding the product line and entering the wholesale market.

The Approach

  • Conduct Organization Scan
    • District Level and 135 District Managers key to implementation of the new strategy. New strategy radically redefined District Managers job.
  • Design and implementation components of a “performance infrastructure” to support the new strategy and growth plans, including:
    • Roles and Responsibilities necessary to support new strategy.
    • District Level Performance System
      • Identified, redefined key processes
      • Job Models for District Managers and District Staff
      • Measures – Stores and Districts.
      • District Planning System
      • Performance Management System
      • Outside Sales and Outside Sales Management Systems.
    • Store Manager Training and Development System
      • Store Processes
      • Learner Controlled Instruction Training Model
    • Store Management System

The Results

  • New strategy successfully implemented.
  • A major economic recession occurred following implementation. However, Sherwin-Williams Stores Division sales did not decline and they regained market share, which they attributed to having the new Field Performance System in place.